Thursday, August 18, 2011

Postpartum Depression... Shhh... It's a secret...

Bear with me, this one may be a little lengthy...

Anyone who knows me, knows that I suffered from Postpartum Depression. And no, it's not just because I was an uncontrollable mess 24/7, it's because I talked about it. Ok, well maybe not to everyone in the beginning, but eventually I did and if you hang out with me too long, I'll probably tell you about it too.

Why? Because too many women don't. They feel like it's something they should be ashamed of (like they can really control it), like they did something wrong, like they are a failure, or all of the above. Or maybe that's just how it was for me. Maybe it's different for everyone.

All I know is that it was miserable, I was miserable, until I got help. At first I didn't know what was wrong with me. It really started before I even left the hospital. I was 3 days overdue and they said they had to induce. I didn't want to induce, I didn't want drugs, I wanted it as natural as possible. I felt like I got robbed of the full experience. (Now, I'm not coming down on anyone who is pro-drug, pro-c-section, etc... this is just how I felt about my situation.) I really felt like he wasn't ready (and he wasn't I gave birth 47 hours and 45 minutes after they began the induction) and I didn't want to rush it.

Don't get me wrong, I loved my son, but I didn't feel an instant bond (gasp!) with him. I had a flood of emotions and guilt and loneliness and doubt and every other bad emotion you can imagine and then I felt guilty for for feeling bad. It was such a vicious cycle.

Each day after I had Moose, my appetite was less and less and I wasn't getting any sleep. Not just from the newborn (he was actually doing great), but from the nurses in and out, checking on me, checking on Moose, sending in student nurses, banging the cabinets in the room next to us. That in itself was enough to drive me crazy. The night before I was discharged, friends brought us dinner at that point, I just sorta pushed it around and forced a few fries down. The next morning the midwife came in looked at me and asked "How are you doing?" I said "Fine, Moose has been doing great." She said "No, how are YOU doing?" I lost it. First off, I felt like that was the first time since he was born that someone asked how I was really doing. Tears started streaming down my face. Blubbering (I am a crier after all), I said something like "I'm just so tired, there is someone in here every 20 minutes. I haven't slept since Thurs night (it was now Tuesday) and I am just a mess." She hugged me and reassured me and I think I felt better for a bit.

The next two kind of run together. I remember spending alot of time on the recliner, not leaving the house much, crying uncontrollably a and really just going through the motions. I did it cause I had to, I knew that much, but I didn't want to be around anyone but Jon. When he went back to work, I balled my eyes out, and called him several times begging him to come home, to take vacation time and stay home a little longer.

As I stated in one of my other blogs, I lost 30lbs in less than two weeks. I didn't eat and I breastfed (in hindsight, probably not a good combination). Speaking of breastfeeding... It was so hard... I feel like no one really tells you that and the first doctor we took Moose to freaked us out saying she didn't think he was eating enough and we needed to supplement with xx amount of formula. I went home and cried (notice a theme here?). Blubbering questions to Jon (that he didn't have an answer for, of course) like "Why do we have to supplement?" "What happens if he forgets how to nurse?" "Why can't I provide enough for my son?" As I said, it was horrible...

Then on the other side of that, a week later, breast feeding became overwhelming so I switched to pumping (I have no idea why that seemed easier, looking back) every 3 to 4 hours. On a Saturday night, it got so bad that Jon took me to the emergency room. Not because I wanted to hurt myself or my son (that seemed to be the "it" question at the ER), but because I literally could not stop crying and I felt so terrible. She did a psych evaluation (which, in my opinion, make you feel like a criminal) and decided to release me to the care of my husband as long as I went to my doctor first thing Monday morning. Sunday was the longest day ever.

Monday came and I went to the doctor (it worked out well, cause it was the same day as Moose's circ) and he asked what was bothering me. My response? Uncontrollable crying, again... He got the gist of it and set me up with a prescription. Yes, I was medicated for about 6 months. Boy did it help. I am so thankful that I didn't let it drag on. I truly don't know how some women hold it in, I couldn't have stayed that way for long.

My happy, healthy, handsome man
I did continue to breastfeed Moose until he was 13 months old and I am happy to report that he successfully latched back on and I actually nursed him. When the 6 months was up, I went off the meds. I feel like that was the best decision for me, but I have to admit, I still have bad days every once in a while. I feel like that's normal though. Life is a journey of ups and downs and I prefer it that way, who just wants to ride in a straight line? :)

I hope that my sharing this helps bring to light that PPD is nothing to be ashamed of, that it's not anyone's fault.

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